An App Centric Living Room
With the introduction of TV streaming devices, such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV, which were initially designed to provide consumers with TV streaming applications, we have seen the integration of app stores which have allowed users to access other services. For example, games and lifestyle applications are now accessible from the majority of TV streaming boxes. This evolution has led to such devices being added to the segment of products termed ‘microconsoles’, generally a classification given to describe low cost (sub $200), Android-based devices which play games downloaded from an app store, such as Google Play.
Apple Unveils Latest Apple TV Device
Apple revealed its latest Apple TV device last week which for the first time allows users to access apps and games via the App Store. The device, priced at $149 for the 32GB version and $199 for the 64GB model, uses a remote with a touchpad and microphone that works with Siri.
Not the Console Competitor Some Had Predicted
Whilst the Apple TV holds great promise, it is not the device some had foreseen. Rather than creating a console competitor, Apple have formed a mash-up of the Wii’s motion sensing remote with Amazon’s Fire TV microconsole. Gaming on microconsole streaming devices has not had the impact that many developers had hoped for, the low adoption of the Ouya device being the most notable example. Other brands have tried to repurpose Android games for living rooms, but with the majority of such games being designed for touch screen interfaces this has not had a huge impact on the games industry.
The Apple TV’s ‘tvOS’ will limit apps to 200MB, with additional data being streamed from iCloud. With high-end ‘AAA’ console titles generally exceeding 40GB per download, the Apple TV can never seriously compete against the PS4 and Xbox One in terms of top-tier gaming, instead offering casual games such as ‘Crossy Road’ and ‘Angry Birds’.
Source: Courtesy of Apple
Some may argue that Apple is late to the party, with Roku, Amazon, NVIDIA, and Razer already established in this form of content delivery. However, access to iOS applications will be a significant draw to many consumers looking for a microconsole streaming device.
Rise of Microconsoles and a Wealth of Choice for Consumers
The surge in popularity for TV streaming devices ties in with the consumer demand for OTT (Over the Top) and VOD (Video on Demand) services such as Netflix, Hulu and Catch-up TV services from the traditional broadcasters. Juniper has forecast the future potential of OTT TV, with a look at its popularity on Microconsole devices, in its recent research suite Mobile & Online TV & Video: OTT, IPTV & Connected Markets 2015-2019.